Benoit Hamon casts his ballot during the second round of left primary at a polling station in Trappes, France, on Jan. 29, 2017. Benoit Hamon, former education minister and traditional left-winger, on Sunday became the Left candidate for France's upcoming presidential election after beating his rival Manuel Valls in the primary run-off, partial results showed. (Xinhua/Hubert Lechat)
PARIS, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Benoit Hamon, former education minister and traditional left-winger, on Sunday became the Left candidate for France's upcoming presidential election after beating his rival Manuel Valls in the primary run-off, partial results showed.
With votes in 4,322 polling stations out of 7,500 site counted, Hamon enjoyed a comfortable win with 58.65 percent of votes ahead of Valls' 41.35 percent, organizers said.
"Tonight the left raises its head and turns to the future. Our country needs a modern and innovative Left. We must write a new page of our history," Hamon told his supporters.
"I assess with gravity and lucidity the responsibility that you entrusted me ... In face of a conservative right and a destructive far right, France needs the Left," he added in his victory speech.
The Left presidential candidate is said to seek a united front with other left-wing candidates, such as Jean-Luc Melenchon and Yannick Jadot who had launched their own campaigns.
Valls, 54 and former prime minister, quickly conceded defeat, saying "Benoit Hamon has clearly won."
"Hamon is the candidate of our political camp," he acknowledged.
Hamon, 49, had long trailed in vote intentions before he made a spectacular surge after three televised debates. During the debates, he styled himself the unifier of beleaguered Left party which suffered severe rifts during the time of President Francois Hollande.
Hamon resigned from Hollande's government as the education minister in protest over what he said was a too liberal economic policy.
During his campaign, Hamon proposed an universal basic income for every single French citizen aged over 18, regardless of whether they are employed or not.
He also vowed to repeal the controversial labor reform which aims to soften job market rules and offer more flexibility to companies, in the case of his election.
After dominating France's political landscape for decades, the Socialists and the broader Left are weakened by internal upheavals that are blocking their way to building momentum to take on the right-wing and the far right party.
A Kantar Sofres-OnePoint survey for Le Figaro, RTL and LCI released on Sunday showed Hamon, collecting 15 percent of vote intentions in the presidential election's first round, is behind centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.
The poll also predicted far-rightists leader Marine Le Pen would win on April 23 with 25 percent against conservative Francois Fillon's 22 percent.